Jesus told a parable about a servant who had been forgiven a great debt (Matthew 18:23-35). This man found grace and mercy with his master but then he took that grace and mercy for granted. Immediately after he was forgiven, he went out and began to choke a man who owed him a small, insignificant amount, demanding, "Pay me what you owe me!" When the debtor asked the man for mercy, the man refused and had the debtor jailed.
Why was this man so judgmental? Why did he lack mercy? It was because he did not consider his own unworthiness. He did not understand how hopeless and exceedingly sinful his own life was. He did not appreciate the danger he had been in, how close to death he had been before he'd been shown mercy. When the master found out what the ungrateful man had done to the other debtor, he had him thrown into jail for life.
While I was working on this message, the Lord stopped me and said, "David, forget your message right now. I want to talk to you about your judgmental spirit, your lack of mercy."
I thought, "Me, Lord? I'm one of the most merciful preachers in America." But He began to review all the things I had said to young preachers, things I had blurted out sharply. Then He reminded me of all the insensitive things I'd said to people who had failed, people I'd given up on.
That session absolutely wiped me out. I wept before the Lord. When I asked God how this could be, He answered, "You've forgotten what I did for you, the incredible mercy I showed you. How many times did I dig you out of something that could have destroyed you? You wouldn't be here without My mercy."
Beloved, before you can offer mercy to someone else, you must look at the pit where you would be without God's mercy. Only then can you say, "Oh, God, I know what You did for me and You can do the same for my friend who is in sin. At one time I was just as wicked in Your sight. I can't judge this friend, because You had mercy on me."
That is where you must begin!